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Thread: What's The Big Deal?

  1. #1

    Default What's The Big Deal?

    With all this talk about freighter canoes I cannot help but wonder why are they so popular within a select few? I'm not new to the sq stern freighter canoe scene either. I bascially inherited a 16.5' Osagian square stern with an 8 horse outboard years ago. We built a home made trailer and I used that sucker atleast once a week for years. It was my only boat for a long time.

    During every trip I always thought a small jon boat would be an upgrade. A small jon would be more stable and plain better. Some might say a canoe, maybe my canoe, is more portable. A 100+ lbs canoe really isn't that portable compared to a light jon.

    With all of my experience in my canoe that I hardly ever use anymore I can't help but wonder why buy a freighter canoe with all the other options available on the market?

  2. #2
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default experiments

    while reading the posts on and about these transom canoes, you can tell some folks have "lived it" for sure..
    Guys lay in the bunk on cold winter nights thinking of ways to make their craft do the job in style next summer.... when the water is not so tight from the Alaska and Yukon cold winters. You may find a drawing on a paper scrap, or a napkin,,,, A theory, or a copy of something already working for somebody......
    It started years ago when the little Oly Evenrude outboards first found themselves purchased on the sides and back-ends of double ender canoes....
    rigged this way and that.. And then someone chopped one end of the double ender off and mounted a transom...
    that was not enough, Someone wanted to go faster and be able to buck the river current with a full load of camp and moose,, so they got Western with it and adapted with raised transoms and more horses. then the boat got unstable with the aditional horsepower so they added runners on the bottom, added fins to the lower unit, put extensions on the tiller handles,,, and just made some great modifications to fit the bill....
    Necessity is the mother of invention.... and these pioneers of the north.. felt these adaptations very necessary...
    So..... why are the manufactures not running to build at the factory what these inventive souls have come up with on their own???
    Well.. its a numbers game.... and lucky for us,,, the numbers of people that want and require these modified craft are limited. If thousands of people wanted to cruise the waters of the far north, then the manufactures would be lining up to fulfill the needs...
    we are talking very few hundreds of actual users of these resources.
    Its just that supply and demand thing.
    One added thing here I would like to say....
    ///////
    On a cool September morning, the fog sitting close to the lake, I hear from a mile away... A familiar sound,,,, its the clang of a paddle being dropped into the floor of and aluminum Gruman 19 ft.... ( he has his canoe in deep enough water now to drop the lower unit into the black )
    I know I will soon hear the outboard engine roar to life in a few moments,, if it will start right away....,,, first tug with the choke pulled out, and a sputter.... second pull the choke set just so.. yup, started almost exactly like mine.....
    ...For the ground fog I can not see these events, but I have heard them many times, and know what to expect next....
    soon the outboard motor I hear pushing the canoe will be swallowed up, by the miles and atmosphere absorbing its sound.
    ,,,,
    Its ok to share a lake with anouther guy with a freighter, but more than one or two on the lake, is just to crowded....

    I appreciate the fact that its not easy to be one of these guys that goes where few will venture...
    I hope it stays that way...
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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    Default freighters

    The Piper super Cubs didn't come from the factory able to to take off in 50' or land short on gravel bars, or tundra. Alaskan took the basic plane and made it into the bush plane they needed.

    Likewise, These square stern canoes have been long modified to function in ways the canoe designers at Grumman never though of. I talked to an engineer at Marathon B.G. a couple years ago about taking out the middle seat to make more cargo space. I was advised that seat is more than a sitting devise and actually strengthens the center of the boat. He asked me how i use my freighter. When I explained all about lifts, 15 hp, tiller extensions, etc, he thought I was nuts, or at least had an Evil Knevill mind set. Our canoes, like the Super Cubs, are tailored for their jobs.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Water_Gremlin View Post
    With all this talk about freighter canoes I cannot help but wonder why are they so popular within a select few? I'm not new to the sq stern freighter canoe scene either. I bascially inherited a 16.5' Osagian square stern with an 8 horse outboard years ago. We built a home made trailer and I used that sucker atleast once a week for years. It was my only boat for a long time.

    During every trip I always thought a small jon boat would be an upgrade. A small jon would be more stable and plain better. Some might say a canoe, maybe my canoe, is more portable. A 100+ lbs canoe really isn't that portable compared to a light jon.

    With all of my experience in my canoe that I hardly ever use anymore I can't help but wonder why buy a freighter canoe with all the other options available on the market?

    Years ago, as a kid, I spent lots of time in very small jon boats. My father built lots of them, and he had used them on the Susquehanna for many years. We never swarmped but he was good on the water.and that was much warmer water than the Tanana. Alaska is a lot different. As we know all too often, swamp once and that is it.

    My feeling is that for general use in Alaska, a small jon boat is about the least useful and unsafe boat going. I'm assuming that by "small" you mean something like 14'. They are fine and safe for ponds and that is about it. If there are any waves or fast water or if you are carrying much of anything, they are just plain dangerous. The bigger jons are good work boats and utility boats on flat water but still not very safe iif the wind kicks up. The really big johns(like the 21 or 24' Carolina Skiff ) with lots of floatation are safe and haul huge loads, but require big outboards and big gas tanks! The long skinny jon boats are very useful (I have one in addition to the freighters) but the big freighters take much rougher water and haul lots more than a medium sized jon. I suppose if I had to have only one boat though and gas at several dollars per gallon,, and I didn't need a work boat, it would probably be the Gruman with lift. I always enjoy running it. With a pair of hip boots and a rope to pull it, it will get you into places that are very hard to get to with anything else. It does take some practice to run the 19' and attention to what the worst water is going to be like, but given those precautions, they are hard to beat.


    The load capacity of a small jon boat is real close to nothing but a couple of persons and some fuel. It is just impossible to take an extended trip with one. Put a load in them, go from quiet water around a river bend and hit some nasty stuff, get a wave over the bow, and the result is very inconvenient.

    I garontee you that with higher gas prices, the trend will be toward the kinds of boats that go back a few years: long skinny jon boats with lifts and small HP outboards. Also, square stern canoes. You just can't beat the cost of acquiring them and running them with anything else. Around here right now (nenana), the river is empty and the reason is the price of fuel. Few can afford the gas for an 90 HP on the wide bottom 20' jon boat. I know that I can't!
    Last edited by foamsfollower; 07-15-2008 at 06:12. Reason: bad grahmer and spelling

  5. #5

    Default

    We fished and hunted in a 19 foot Grumman Freightor for years when I lived in North Pole and that boat was the real deal. It belonged to my buddy and he had a lift on it with an 8 horse Yamaha motor, we ran some shallow water with that setup. We used it for moose hunting on the haul road, ran the Chatanika into Minto for some killer pike fishing and also ran the Tanana for moose. Not sure how practical one would be in SC but in the interior it would be worth it's weight in oil (gold).

  6. #6
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    Default freight canoes

    Water Gremlin,

    Not to denigrate your Osage square stern, but that is really on the small end of the "freight canoe" line-up.....IMO opinion the 19' Grumman is the entry level for freight canoes. Anything shorter is simply a traditional paddling canoe with the end cut off to accomodate a motor.

    I've owned freight canoes upto 24' and have used 26 footers......my current freight canoe is the Scott 21' Hudson Bay model. This very strong fiberglass canoe is easily pushed with the 15-20 HP outboards and easily carries a very large moose and two hunters with complete camp. A very stable craft capable of handling fairly rough seas. I have a desire to own the larger James Bay model but haven't found enough need....yet!

    With today's fuel prices, I suspect we will see more interest in these fuel efficient boats as a canoe can transport a lot of weight with minimal horsepower. Last summer, a friend and I made a 200 mile camping fishing trip using 13 gallons of gasoline through a 20 Honda all while carrying a substantial load of camping gear. This combo cruises at about 18 MPH at 3/4 throttle.

    Canadians have and do use canoes far more than Alaskans do but I think Alaskans do more with shallow water drive [jacklifts etc].

  7. #7
    Moderator Alaskacanoe's Avatar
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    Default Efficient water craft

    I think you guys are all on the same page about the efficient attributes of the freighters.
    you know,, I was down in Venezuela a few years ago and traveled down the Orinoco river several hundred miles, and then back up it again.
    the craft we were in was a very narrow ( 44 inch ) 25 foot long boat.
    it was really efficient and did a great job.
    in a lot of ways, it is similar to the freighter of the north. Narrow and long, pushed with an outboard, carried a large load and did it safely.
    We encountered some winds on the huge Orinoco and it tooks the wind and waves with out a problem.
    I was surprised at the speed, and the gas sipping of the rig.
    It was not called a ponga, or Panga as some call them, but had anouther name I can not remember.
    Some even had sun roofs on them.
    very basic and some quite primative.
    Not as stylish or well built as the big Canadian frieghters, and those folks down in Venezuela would for sure be interested in taking over such a vessel... I am sure it would be a hit on any of the rivers and lakes of the world, where large loads and adverse conditions exist..
    Max
    When you come to a fork in the trail, take it!

    Rentals for Canoes, Kayaks, Rafts, boats serving the Kenai canoe trail system and the Kenai river for over 15 years. www.alaskacanoetrips.com

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